In the spring of 2011 members of the Herkimer County Historical Society approached the Herkimer County Community College radio - television broadcasting faculty about working on a televised show together based on the popular NBC show “Who Do You Think You Are?”
“We thought why couldn’t we do this on a local level,” said historical society Executive Director Susan Perkins as she explained “Who Do You Think You Are?” traced celebrities’ genealogies and took them on a journey to discover their family roots. “We were thrilled we received such a receptive response from professors Mary Ann Carroll, Robert Gassman and Mark Harris. But that was the easy part. Finding a subject for the show proved to be a little more difficult as we had to research the family background of several local notable individuals before we came up with Steve McMurray.”
Perkins said when they approached the Frankfort native who is the station manager and news director of WKTV he was interested. “The best part was he didn’t know anything about his family background beyond his grandparents. We knew we had the beginning of a show,” she said.
“Climbing Your Family Tree” had its premiere Thursday evening at the HCCC Amphitheater.
Carroll, an associate professor of radio - TV broadcasting at HCCC, said the college will promote when the program will be aired on HCTV, which is broadcast on Time Warner Cable channel 99.
“The show still has to go through a final edit before it is broadcast ready, as everyone involved with the project wants to make sure it truly pays justice to the subject matter,” she said. “It was such a privilege to travel alongside Steve as he discovered his family history. As the people responsible for the production of this show, we want to make sure we tell his story to the best of our abilities.”
Work on “Climbing Your Family Tree” began in the fall of 2011, starting with McMurray and Perkins at the Herkimer County Historical Society. “We sent him off to other locations, but we don’t want to say anything about that until everyone has the opportunity to see the show,” said Perkins. “The only thing I can reveal is that Steve’s family history reflects the incredible historical heritage of our area.”
“It’s incredible to think my history, my family’s history, is so deeply tied to the history of the Mohawk Valley,” said McMurray. “I had the easy job of just listening and learning, which is why I have to thank the college and the historical society for the time and effort they put into producing this show. I know the hard work that goes into producing a one or two minute news segment, so to think of the work each and everyone had to put in to create this hour-long show is mind-boggling.”
Page 2 of 2 - “We are so happy to have worked on this project with the college to help promote the importance of one’s genealogy,” said Perkins. “We’re here today because of all the people who came before us and it’s exciting to find out who they were. We hope to be able to do this again.”
“It was a humbling experience,” said McMurray. “It was an honor to be chosen as the first subject for this project and I can’t thank everyone enough for helping me learn more about my family.”